Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Namma BMTC (Not-so-loosely translated as ‘Our BMTC’)

Everyone who has been to Bangalore and has travelled in the BMTC buses here, please raise your hands! (The rest of you can scratch your chins :D)

The BMTC bus conductor takes pride in not returning the exact change when you buy the ticket. If you give Rs.30 for a Rs.25 ticket, he’ll get you the ticket, and with a ease that comes only with years of practice, he’ll write “5” behind the ticket. Now this means that any time before you get down, you had better “remind” him that he has to return you the change, that is, if you actually want the change! But if by any chance you forget to remind him about the fiver, don’t expect him to remember and return it to you. Mind you, it’s not because he has any intention of keeping your money, but the simple reason is that he is a very very busy man, who doesn’t have time to remember about the trivial amount. Which, in fact, he could have easily returned to you the moment you bought the ticket as is bag is always overflowing with loose change, but he doesn’t. Because he wants to improve the collective memory of the citizens of Bangalore! (So nice of him na?)

And when you do remind him about the change, and he returns it to you, he’ll tear the ticket or scratch off the “5” just in case you don’t ask him for the change again later! You see, there’s room for only one smart-ass in a BMTC bus!

So, last week, I boarded a bus, found myself a seat, took out the cash and bought a ticket. And I was lucky enough to get a “7” behind my ticket (yeah I like to think of it as some kinda lottery ticket!) I didn’t know how much the ticket would cost and therefore couldn’t provide the exact change and ended up with the 7 on my ticket.

Now 7 is a very odd number. Yeah you would think it’s not even, so it’s odd. But how on earth is it “very odd”, right? It’s very odd because it doesn’t matter much when it’s a 1, 2, 3 or for that matter 4 behind the ticket. Even if I forget to ask it and lose the money, I feel it’s a small amount. It’s actually “change”/“chillar”. But when it touches 5, it kinda becomes not-so-small. Its half-plate panipuri! It’s a Cadbury Munch! It’s not chillar anymore!

So, mindful of the fact that I do have to remind the gentleman in khaki about the Rs.7 he owes me, I sat there listening to 'Hey there Delilah!' on my cell. Around halfway into the journey, the conductor came near me. And me being a Bangalorean with a reasonably good memory, said:
Boss, saat rupaye dene hai” (“You gotta pay me 7”)

The conductor looked at me as if I had asked him to give me half of his salary! I thought the busy man had, as usual, forgotten about the money and dished out the ticket from my jeans. He gave a scowl and said something in Kannada. I normally can make out the gist of most things I hear, but this was a total bouncer.
I asked: “Kya?” (“What?”)
He: (muttering some more stuff in Kannada under his breath) “Where? Stop?”
I told him the name of the stop.
He: “You don’t ask. I give”

Saying this, he turned and walked back to the front. I was stunned. Now this was a first. They normally mutter stuff and pay. By the time I regained my composure and thought I should say something, he was standing next to the driver.

I shook my head and suddenly realized that everyone around me was looking at me.
Tish-phish-doom-shoom-BOOM!!! And there lay my ego on the floor of the bus all splattered and squashed!

I just did what a man does in situations like this. I switched the song to Nickelback’s 'Rockstar' and started playing Mini Golf on my cell! So, engrossed was I putting the ball in the hole that I didn’t realize that my stop had come. I jumped out just a quarter of a second before the doors of the bus closed and that’s when I remembered that I never got the 7!

I looked into the bus and saw the conductor looking at me from the window. I gave a scowl back and stared at him. The bus started moving slowly and I had to cross the road. He was still staring at me from the glasses at the back of the bus and even I didn’t move my gaze. Time stood still as neither of us looked away. The silent mature battle of the egos of two fully-grown men was on full display to the entire world but not a single soul apart from the two of us knew about it!

“You ain’t gonna win this one dude!” I yelled at him without saying a word.

SCREEEEEEECHHHHHHHHHH!!! A car braked right next to my legs. I had walked right to the middle of the road staring at the conductor.

“You blind *******! Can’t you ******* see and cross the road? Bloody ********”...” that’s the last thing I heard as I ran onto the other side of the road far from BMTC conductors and angry drivers!

Note: I know I haven’t posted in a long while. And writing this one also took some effort with all the rustiness creeping in. A huge thanks to all the people who at some point or the other coaxed me to update. It really feels good to see people wanting to read something I come up with. I have never been prolific with my posts: 20 posts in 18 months isn’t something to boast about. All I can say in my defence are the famous lines by Miss Kido:
Cowards blog everyday...The brave blog but, once in a while!!!


Ashley said...

Ohk wait..I am first!!!

Now that I have that bit outta my system...Man this is shocking! My city bus drivers don't write anything on the back of the ticket and they usually give the change without much prompting.

Psst: Have been on the BMTC(?)buses of Bangalore and did not know the fare and did not ask about the fare and did not look at the back of the ticket!!! Duh Oh! :|

Shanu said...


now back to the post...

It was well worth the wait :)

I hope and pray that you have loads of such ego squashing experiences so that u can post regularly :)

Grayquill said...

Coward #2 here - 20 posts in 18 months - I knew it was bad, I had no idea it was near terminal.
BTW - Ashley is first, just case you missed it.
Okay since you haven't posted for at least one moon - you have opened yourself up to total abuse; so here goes.
Put on your armor - I am giving you no mercy.
You say scratch your chin – why not scratch your head?
Get down? Why not just get off?
He wants to improve the collective memory of the citizens of Bangalore! – Such a noble fella should he not have been given double?
Do you really call the dude boss?
A total bouncer – that’s a great description. I am stealing it.
It’s Rs.7 why not 7Rs? I am so confused.
That’s about all I could come up with – I am glad you are back in the saddle – any saddle sores yet? I hear the Rx has a great cream for that itchy, itchy rash.
Oh - I have a great laugh but got a bit scared when your anger almost got you killed. Humble pie is good for the, hmmm....what could it be? Sorry I got nothng.

Grayquill said...

Sorry I forgot something - I missed how boss man did not win?
Next time walk up behind boss man pull at the back of his belt and empty your water bottle down his pants. He will have to eat the humble pie and then he will get a diaper rash by the time his shift is over. Be sure to leave your left over itchy, itchy rash cream on your seat - he will need it. After all I am sure you are not completely without feelings.

Madhu said...

hey blunt edges:[u still havent told your name..Grrrr!]

I have been silently waiting for a post from your end u know?Just as you silntly yelled at the driver!!

trust me,it happens even down here in hyd.And the conducter looks at you as if u wre a millionare gettin Kunjoos for a five rupee change.Its is nerver wreking but u now what,i am this total jagaa daalo types who will never get down without my change..:P tough i know,but a small great part of being a girl is that..when a girl shouts..everybody stares..{attention captured!]

NICE POST...Keep writin.I like to read em..Now smile..! :P:D

Nupur said...

I so agree with Miss Kido!!!
BTW, nice post!! Seems like everyone is returning to blogosphere from their writer's block break!!

iceprincess said...

i can understand abt rustiness..i just wrote something..and saved with for the day i feel braver to post...
but i shld say..i loved ur line abt improving d collective memory....
and if u ask me..the man in khakhi deserved a hit on his egotistical head.....if i were u..i wld have even shown my tongue to him...u let him go,mate?

Nim said...

ha...that was actually a journey to remember... :P
all i can say is...conductors in bombay are much quicker and not fussy with change (unless someone waves a 500bucks note on his face)
eh i mean Mumbai.
anywho, i like ur choice of music..2 really good songs on a not so pleasent journey ;)

Nim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meenakshi said...


The time that I traveled on the BMTC, I happened to be a student, so always armed with the exact change (reason for his overflowing bag of chillar.

However the KSRTC bus conductors too must have traveeled BMTC & had your experience, because they tread a step ahead. They never return change and don't even write anything on the ticket. Just a verbal - "pinne tharaam" (will give later).

Later ofcourse they happily forget, if yoou are lucky to remember and ask, you are in trouble- you shall have to go through a third degree questioning of whether he really owes you that or are you trying to bluff. If its your lucky day, you shall be stuck with a stranger who has your 6 Rs (as the conductor gives him 10 rs, to take the 4 he owes him and give me the rest 6).

Now traveling in KSRTC for almost 3 years, I have "forgotten" enough chillar to make the conductors recognize me , smile at me (even though they remain grumpy to others), know the exact stop I get down at, never bother to return the change and make sure the bus stops at the stop I board at - no matter how heavily crowded and overflowing it is...

buckingfastard said...

hehe..happnd 2 me once wen i visited bangalore...

da bangalorian sitting beside me explaind da rules of da game...

well in calcutta...da bus wallas generally bargain...fr 10 rupees tckt...he says...pay 5 and skip da ticket...we both gain.. :)

HaRy!! said...

well that happened to me many times, but then i didnt allow myself from the conductor's sight!! so kept track of him and got the money! I know BMTC conductors have this cheap way of earning money!, But yeah I was waiting for yur posts Bluntly :D!! lol that line..hav yu seen Shivaji? rajini movie he says " Pigs move around in gangs, Lion always alone" similar eh...brave yu?! ha ha..good one there!

Sangitha said...

I had one such experience when in college.. But i took revenge.. travelled ticketless the next day..Talk abt being rebellious.. :D Ssshh..dnt tell anyone.. :P
Coming back to ur post.. I laughed my heart out at this line.. 'Tish-phish-doom-shoom-BOOM..' I thot u actually entered into a fist fight with the conductor but it was ur EGO dat got bruised.. Cho Chaad.. :D :P
Nice post.. :)
And guess i too belong to the brave bloggers category.. 12 posts in 6 mnths.. :D

Anita :) said...

Oh Blunt Edges..Ive had similar experiences with these BMTC conductors! and by the way.. enjoyed every word of it !! Dint know you travel in buses ;) Such great writers like you should have your own means of conveyance!

blunt edges said...

@ Ashley
yippie...u r first!!! :D
well in case u dunno, the cost of the ticket is normally written at the front...so that way u could have made out if u got back the change or not na??? ;)
n which country r u in? i thought i was a zombie 2 post at 1.43am n u comment at 3.27am!!! :o

@ Shanu
yay...i posted!!! ;)
wah kya dost hai tu...concerned only about the posts ha? :P

@ Grayquill
lol...welcome coward#2...wonder if ashley read ur comment!!! :D
1. hmmmm...why chin n not head? ***scratches head*** no clue :¦
2. guess it should have been 'get off'
3. yeah he should be given double n should also be shot on the head!
4. 'boss' is a common way 2 address unknown people in this part of the world
5. copyright issues!!! u gotta pay me a fee everytime u use it! :P
6. its pronounced 7Rs. but writtes Rs.7!
7. no rashes yet buddy!
8. shhhhhh...don't tell anyone who won!
9. n i might actually try out the water bottle trick...thanx :D
now can i remove the armor? its kinda heavy :D

@ Madhu
n i thought u forgot about the name-finding game ;)
lol...i guess u don't have 2 be a girl 2 shout n capture attention...rather u gotta be a girl 2 capture the attention n win the duel ;)
i smiled :D

@ Nupur
well miss kido has never been more right! ;)

@ iceprincess
welcome back :D
u always like one line na...a unique iceprincess signature ;)
i actually lost out the moment i didn't say a word when he said that line in english...i was caught off guard...n then i never got a chance 2 redeem myself!
next time it would be different :)

@ Nim
guess bombay/mumbai bus conductors win hands down...BEST emerges champs in the BEST vs BMTC bout! ;)
'Rockstar' is one of my most fav song!!! :D

@ Meenakshi
lol...u have cast ur spell on the ksrtc guys ;)
hope the 'pinne' of 'pinne theram' comes 'vegam' :D

@ buckingfastard
it happens here also but only if the destination is 1 or 2 stops away!

@ HaRy
lol...guess u were much more determined than me! ;)
n the pigs n lions line was something...i might use it sometime :D

@ Sangitha
U TRAVELED TICKETLESS!!! hope noone heard that ;)
12posts in 6months...u still not as brave as me :D
n my ego says thanx :D

@ Anita
i don't travel on a regular basis n my blogs don't pay me! ;)

Archana said...

Eeks, it's reading posts like this that remind me that I don't have the level of street-smartness for India. Haha, it's like drop me any other big city, be it New York or London, and I will function perfectly. But in India, I would be that person that never gets change back and wouldn't know how to ask of "fight" for it, lol.

As for you mister, haha be careful there while giving annoying conductors the frown from hell. You almost got yourself run over in the process! Crossing roads in India is another thing that takes pure talent and skill, even with a 100% concentration. I swear, I was visiting back home once, and my mom had sent me and my friend to go to the tailor shop to fix his kurta. He had flown in for my sister's wedding, and so there's me and this white as day friend of mine standing on a street, baffled as to how to cross, and literally everyone on that street was staring and having a good laugh over our inability, lol.

PS - Nice to see you posting! :)

Nikki said...

Lol. Arre yaar 7 bucks is a lot of money! :P

blunt edges said...

@ Archana
oh i have seen ur "kind" of people who just stand on one side of the road n wait for other people 2 cross so u can walk along with them ;)
PS: nice 2 see u reading :)

@ Nikki
u bet! :D

Aparna said...

OK, I am kind of hovering between cowardice and bravery. Once in seven days...thats how often I blog. I've not been on a BMTC, but bus conductors all over India are more or less the same.Tell the techies in Bangalore to develope an automated system for their buses na, the whole country will benefit.

gkam said...

Welcome baaack! :)

Oh I had the "privilege" of traveling via BMTC buses twice. The first time, the conductor appeared to look like Prabhu Devaa in a more filmy avatar- he wore to wear scarves around his neck, arms and knee-and flicked through his large collection of hundred rupee notes every now and then. (By then he appeared to me as a boy scout, out for selling cookies :P)

We gave the exact change, since we were forewarned about BMTC buses and Bangalore rickshaw monopolizing behavior and the like.

But on reading ur plight, I respect BEST buses even more. Although I'd prefer trains anyday, BEST conductors mayb not warm as butter towards passengers but more often than not they'd return change back in a densely crowded bus. :)
Less often, they make a face and deny u a ticket momentarily if he doesn't have spare change. Fuss pots them!

I :heart: Nickelback's Rockstar!

Tomz said...

This is a common experience that anyone might come across even in Kerala.
But you made it wonderful and lively with your easy style.
Since you are brave you don't need to post so often, we are satisfied with this.
I hope just like your posts go, your nature too is like the one who cracks jokes often.
Thank you for this amazing post.

Sumit said...

The worst of the lot are the BMTC buses which have the driver doubling up as a conductor. Those buggers are always grumpy when it comes to returning money.

wishes galore said...

have never travelled in bmtc buses but bus conductors are all the same everywhere.. same can be said abt autowallahs there who never returned the change as far as i remember of my stay in banglore..

wishes galore said...

have never travelled in bmtc buses but bus conductors are all the same everywhere.. same can be said abt autowallahs there who never returned the change as far as i remember of my stay in banglore..

bliss said...

hahahahahaha... dont worry dude.. u will get ypur saat trapaiya someday!! he owes it to you!!! fun post man!!! makes up totally for long absence... great to see your funny bones back at work!!! good one! :)

blunt edges said...

@ Aparna
the techies in bangalore r the laziest people on the planet...u would need 2 provide them a really huge incentive 2 even make them think about the automated system...proud 2 be a techie :D

@ gkam
arre don't even get me started on the rick-wallahs here...if i have a gun in my hand n a rick-wallah n a terrorist in front of me, it would be mighty tough 4 me 2 decide whom 2 shoot 1st...i might actually go 4 the rick-wallah 1st!
guess BEST wins hands down over BMTC!
same pinch on the song :D:D:D
i just luv long comments...thanx a ton gkam :D

@ Tomz
thanx a lot dude :)
actually no...i'm a very serious n no-nonsense person...i actually hate people cracking jokes n laughing around me...i like silence n think anyone who talks more than i wanna listen should be shot dead! ***smirks away 2 glory***

@ Sumit
welcome 2 blunt edges :D
the conductor+driver thing is just crazy...i don't get the logic behind it...is the govt/BMTC cutting down on costs?

@ wishes galore
just coz i gave a huge reply 2 gkam on why i hate rick-wallahs here, i ain't saying anymore on that!
btw welcome 2 blunt edges :D

@ bliss
lol...yeah i might actually become a BMTC conductor someday n that guy might travel in my bus n i can return him the favor...that's the only way i see of me getting back the cash ;)
thanx a lot 4 the nice words :D

gayathri-vishwanathan said...

hahahha lovely one BE...BEST bus drivers r nice people...they have always given me the change back...

P.S: Cadbury Munch?? I thought it is Nestle Munch.

Fantasies of a Lifetime said...

rofl , was blog hopping and came across yours . . .7 Rupee :O that sure was worth getting rammed by a car ! . .

riddhi said...

hmmm...scratching my chin
staring at gray- how can he write comments as long as me.. offended

good good proud of u.. atlast a posted.. and that too a good one.. bt BMTC guys are sure shot doodes.aah I like them.. i actually m not in a long comment mode right now lets see I will come back.. let me go put my armour. but i seriously loved the bakwas.. especially the transition to mini golf.. i ahve done that many a times.. asin a transition to sudoku in my case..
and there is something baout bus tickets that fascinate me.. i knw its vahiyat but i collect bus tickets from all over the world.. nad i hardly travel in buses.. so in school and college and at home who ver travels in bus makes sure to keep them in the wallet;. so whenever they are about to throw them away they keep the kachra for raddi, the kabadi queen..
like on birthday this is the cheapest a nd the loveliest gift one can give me.. see i am cheap.. did i say i am not in a long comment mode.. neah how can dat be possible.. :P

keep writing. i bhill comment

blunt edges said...

@ gayathri
arre cadbury ho ya nestle...munch toh hai na!
bhavnao ko samjho yaar ;)

@ Fantasies
totally worth it! ;)
a warm welcome 2 blunt edges! :D

@ riddhi
maybe grayquill just beat u with the length of the comment! ;)
n wonderful 2 see ur trademark looooong comments yaar...n as a gift u get all the BMTC tickets i ever lay my hands on...m sure riddhi(= raddi) would luv the gift :D:D:D

Archana said...

I had to stop by and share this. Just as you see my "kind" attempting to cross streets, lol, over the weekend I was out with friends and we were dining at this streetside cafe. This one guy had a major argument with his cabby, gets out, slams the door shut, cursed at him and was busy shaking his head over it, that when he stormed off in anger and turned the corner, he literally rammed right into the street light. Heh. Does he qualify as "your" kind? ;P

Me said...

oh ho! very nice very nice..what i liked most is ur sudden love for music and golf play.and poor chap.. had to hear blessings from some driver too..bad day !

riddhi said...

Riddhi loves the gifts and raddi adores it.

I get BMTC tickets ..yay Yay Yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay yay

and no no no no nobody beats Raddi in her quest for bakbak comments at the expense of others' posts
Mind It ..


blunt edges said...

@ Archana
TOTALLY!!! that's exactly my kind...he actually might be my twin bro who got seperated in that kumbh ka mela ;)

@ Me
cool m replying 2 "Me" ;)
now how come "Extremity" became "Me"?
yup...music n golf is what makes the world go around ;)

@ riddhi
rofl!!! u r the craziest n the cutest...n by ur own admission the cheapest ;) lol :D:D:D

riddhi said...

:D thank you thank you

riddhi said...

btw u got an award.. kangaru relations.. superior scribbler.. he he he. hahahaha badhai ho..

blunt edges said...

@ riddhi
thanx a ton anyways :D:D

Reflections said...

I've been here 10 minutes scrolling back & forth looking for the comment I posted atleast 4-5 days back...:-(

I clearly remember saying "LOL......hilarious!!!!"

Then I remember writing something about most of us identifying with ur experience with BMTC buses & conductors.

Sheesh where did my comment go????

Reflections said...

Simply loved the famous lines in the note...maybe bcoz even my posts are getting more sparse by the month;-D

Mama Zen said...

I can totally picture the stand-off!

blunt edges said...

@ Reflections
i didn't see any comment! maybe u r growing old n r imagining things! :P

@ Mama Zen
if u could picture it, i guess i painted a decent potrait :)
a warm welcome 2 blunt edges :D

ode writer said...

FINALLY u posted :D

so, YOU are the one who came before my car!!... wait, no, that was not a human!!

anyways... i have had horrible horrible experience with Blore Rickshaws (mebbe u can give me tips on them too)... never traveled in bus, while in Blore!! :)

Hilarious post nevertheless... better keep them coming :)

blunt edges said...

@ ode writer
is it name changing season 4 bloggers??? :o
n when did i claim 2 be human ;)
don't even get me started on the ricks here!
n thanx a lot 4 the good words :D

totalliemeh said...

my my..look at u! are u the same person who i attacked with for the overuse of sms lingo?? kid,u've grown.

and yeah.which is better? kerala private buses or this?

Cursed♪♫ said...

You finally posted !! :)
Hey there Delilah what's it like in NY city...I'm a 1000 miles away but girl tonight you look so pretty!! I freaking love this song :)
Yep, it was my 200th post !!!!!!!
And I'm not a coward :(
See my new post!
Take Care Buddy!

ode writer said...

hehe!... probably, who else changed it? :O

nyz u can call me Rach... ode writer is just fancy to read, scary to be called... makes li'l sense :P

ohh btw, i totally agree on the brave blog, but once in a while thing *two thumbs up*!!

blunt edges said...

@ totalliemeh
yup...all that food had 2 get me growing ;)
not that well-versed with the ways of kerala private buses...n so i never had a panga with them...so my vote goes 2 the kerala buses :D:D

@ Cursed
yup i did post! yayyy! ;)
yeah its a beautiful song...n m sure the romantic in u would surely love it :D
n about whether u r a coward or not needs 2 be discussed ;)
will check out ur post soon :D

@ Rach
another one of my blogging pals also changed it from "Extremity" 2 "Me"!
***2 thumbs up back 2 u***

Beauty and the BEast said...

you kidding!! This tempts me to travel by the BMTC ... without change!!

You narrate with such fascinating rapture... that I feel left out at not having experienced most of em!!

BrAiN FrEEzE said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BrAiN FrEEzE said...

very nice... i like the way u described it. felt as if m sitting rite next to u in that bus and experiencing the moment.. last time i travelled in the bus was ages ago. n i dont think i eva bothered abt the ticket change tht was pendin. n i won hav the guts to ask the conductor it, for fear of the 'looks'.. :)
altho i hav travelled in the airport bus service, i was quite impressed.

nehow i like ur blog(s)..

Smriti .....

blunt edges said...

@ Beauty
lol...try it if u ever visit bangalore...m sure u would love the BMTC ;)
thanx 4 the nice words :D

@ Brain Freeze aka Smriti
some name u got there...brain freeze!
yup the airport service indeed is very good...glad u have good memories of the BMTC :D
welcome 2 blunt edges n thanx a lot 4 liking it :D

Lynda G. said...

Came to visit via Grayquill and it seems that the Comment area is THE place to hang out! :D You've got some fans, Blunt Edges! Here's another one...

blunt edges said...

@ Lynda
thanx a lot n a warm welcome to blunt edges :D
u sure have reache THE place ;)